The Path of Breadcrumbs: The New Story of Marcelo Birmajer

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I had been working late that night in the offices of a large Latin American content producer.

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Since I was the only one not celebrating Christmas and didn’t have to leave early to get ready, I took charge of an adaptation of Hansel and Gretel, the script for which was due on January 2nd. I told the rest of my classmates: go easy.

There was some realism and some vanity in my offer. That specific job wasn’t exactly my cast, but it seemed to me that circumstances conspired so that I was ultimately the executor. The word executioner was not accidental: the parents of Hansel and Gretel, the father and stepmother in the strict sense, seemed to me two criminals.

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He felt a certain unease playing out that old plot. There was no Google then; and on that night and in that place I could not remember whether the original text was from the Brothers Grimm, from Andersen or from an anonymous tale.

This we had been told the fit should be for the whole family: include children without losing the attention of adults. But shortly after I started writing, the composition of the location, the dialogues, the abandonment of Hansel and Gretel in the dark forest were not transferable to children or adults.

That feeling wasn’t the best encouragement to finish before the stroke of twelve. At that time I had to leave the finished script on the desk in the coordinator’s office and go to my lonely shack on a remote street in a city that wasn’t Buenos Aires. I I had declared myself in a self-imposed sentimental exile.

I decided to go downstairs to buy some coffee, some spirits, mix them up and see what came out. I had to forget my dislike of that story, my reluctance and my grudge against myself, and write it.

Why had God allowed me to survive on this planet? In exchange for? To do my job: tell a story. In this case, even easier – fit it. But as I tried, I recognized that it was much easier for me to make up a story than to adapt someone else’s.

I got out and pushed open the glass door that connected our modern building, perhaps the most modern in the colonial zone, with the sidewalk damp and terribly hot. But it didn’t open. The serene was nowhere to be found. As far as my senses could reach, I was locked away. Lost in the only place in town without Christmas. Logical.

I started humming Luigi’s Christmasfrom Leon Gieco, but calling me cuis. Surely my life was not Christmas. Where would the night watchman go? What was the worst thing that could have happened to me? Let me go Monday: all over the office there was sweet bread, soft drinks and spirits, leftovers from corporate gifts.

I would not die of hunger or thirst. I was better off than the Jews of the Exodus: when the doors were opened to me, I transformed my night without Christmas into Pesach. Freedom.

He might even start making phone calls. But first I had to finish the script. Looking at the sweet bread I thought of the trail of crumbs that Hansel left. Even if in the first expulsion from the parental home, he showed a trail of pebbles, much more fortunate.

As all my viewers should know, Following that lead, Hansel and Gretel returned to their parents. I had to tell it anyway: Viewers might like me to tell them what they already knew, with the tacit commitment that they’d be surprised at some point.

Hansel and Gretel, following in the wake of the pebbles, returned to their parents and had dinner in peace, as a family, on Christmas Eve. A year later, due to the high cost of living, the father and stepmother once again abandoned Hansel and Gretel deep in the woods, with the obvious intention that the beasts would eat them, or at least never see them again for any reason. reason.

It was not what Dr. Socolinsky would have recommended. for a good relationship between parents and children. But I wasn’t even in Argentina and I had to finish adapting that story before the end of the day.

The second time they are left to die, Hansel has no pebbles to hand. He manages to hold a piece of stale bread in his hand. I don’t know how he manages to get a piece of bread, not even hard, in that miserable house. Perhaps they were not as poor as the author has described them, and were equally determined to be separated from their children. But that wasn’t exactly what bothered me.

Suddenly, not thinking that I was locked up, not thinking about Ana, forgetting myself for an instant, I was moving at full speed on the typewriter.

Hansel and Gretel alone, with each other, much worse than me locked up in that building, surrounded by wolves, more menacing sounds, chasing the beasts of the night.

When Hansel follows a moonbeam, holding his younger sister Gretel by the hand, and tells her to calm down, that they will be home that night too, he discovers that the birds have eaten the crumbs of the stale bread crust. .

How I liked the word mendrugo! Too bad I can’t put it in a dialogue, only in the description of the scene. It was the description of an absence: the crumbs of returning home are missing.

For some reason, my eyes watered. In that case I invented that Gretel began to complain bitterly, wet with tears, about the cruelty of birds. Why was the breadcrumbs eaten? Why were they deprived of their only chance to go home?

Hansel tells him to lower his voice, he doesn’t want to clarify: but what he fears is that it will hasten the arrival of the wolves. In the end he resigns himself to the fact that sooner or later they will give an account.

Gretel continues to sob and wail to the birds. Until one of the birds, which as in many other stories knows human language, approaches her brothers and reveals:

– Hansel, Gretel, we are not cruel. We didn’t eat your trail of breadcrumbs for throat. We ate those crumbs from the crust of hard bread because you don’t go back to those parents. That was not a way back but one of perdition! We ate the crumbs to choose a new path. She runs away from the forest, runs away from wolves. But above all, never go back to that house. Whichever destination they choose, they’d better return down the breadcrumb trail.

He was about to type the escape (now without possible correction, it was just a typewriter), when the phone rang. I replied thinking that one of my Central American colleagues had noticed my birth.

But it was Ana, we hadn’t spoken in two years. I didn’t ask him how he could know that I would be there, and at that moment, or that he was now in Buenos Aires. He asked me if I would go back and I told him never to.. But I meant her. I heard the footsteps of the night watchman downstairs. I just hung up, leaving the finished script on the desk in the coordinator’s office.

WD extension

Source: Clarin

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